Black tomatoes

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by seanmn, Dec 22, 2006.

  1. seanmn

    seanmn Well-Known Member

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    This past summer I grew a few black tomato plants that were given to me by my aunt, when I asked what type they were she simply just said that were black tomatoes...didn't really know the type. I grew these along with some big boys and red brandywine...those black ones were probably the best tomatos I've ever eaten very mild in flavor....I tried to look up to find out what kind they possibly would be...I see theres black krim, cherokee black, and tula black.....Does anybody have an idea what kind they were?

    my aunt said she wasent going to grow anymore of them, not because she didn't like them, but because nobody else wanted to eat them because they thought they were overripe and rotten.
     
  2. RoseGarden

    RoseGarden Well-Known Member

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    Well, just go look at the online seed catalogs and see if there are any that match the description and look of what you grew. Without a description, it's impossible for anyone here to guess, precisely because there are so many 'black' varieties on the market now.

    I've grown Cherokee Purple (what you may be calling Cherokee black?) for several years now, and they are very nice, not ovelry acidic, very soft and good balance of meat to juice. I've also grown a small salad type called 'Black Plum' which was good. Also, grew Black Krim once, but it was much smaller than the Cherokee purple, somewhere between golf-ball and tennis ball sized, and not very flavorful.

    Good luck with your search.
     

  3. suburbanite

    suburbanite Well-Known Member

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    I grew both black krim and cherokee purple and was satisfied with them. Black Krim tastes like a sun dried tomato, when it is fresh. Cherokee purple is more like the usual tomato taste and has very few seeds.

    My Cherokee purple turned out looking more pink than purple. My Black Krim were brown with army-green streaks on top.

    The downside to both varieties were: cracking, blossom end-rot susceptibility, and mold. But I had a big mold problem last winter due to excess late rains, and that may have put a lot of spores around for the tomatos to catch.

    I plan to grow them again, despite these drawbacks.
     
  4. tallpines

    tallpines Well-Known Member

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    I suspect Martin will log on soon and give you more info.
    When I visited him this late summer, he allowed me to taste test a few of his tomatoes, including a small black tomato.

    It was delicious!
     
  5. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    I can't be left alone for 15 minutes to study the new Jung's Catalog. Kept hearing someone mentioning my name!

    The small black one that Tallpines enjoyed was Black Cherry. Came from almost nowhere to become the #1 best-tasting black one for past several years. As soon as everyone on Garden Web got wind that I originally had them, almost wiped me out. Same thing last year. That's definitely a variety that will be here every year until I can find something better in that color.

    I did grow two large black varieties in the community gardens but wasn't impressed. They were Black Brandywine and Cherokee Purple. The Black Brandywines were the worse tomatoes I have ever eaten and I never saved a single seed. There was also a somewhat-verified report through the industry that a lot of Black Brandywine seed was crossed. Crossed OUT here!

    Cherokee Purple is a love-hate affair. If it's a plant that gives a lot of fruit, good taste may not be there. If few fruit, maybe OK. Two of us grew it not much more than 50' apart and neither of us was overly impressed. Also, I don't really consider that one a black.

    Within the tomato-lover world, there's about 6 which make it into the top 2 or 3 on most lists of those who have grown them. Black from Tula, Black Krim, Black Prince, Carbon, Paul Robeson, and Nyagous, and almost in that order. All of those are medium-size productive utility type. There's also Black Plum but that's a paste type. Of all of those, I've only grown Nyagous and was a good one 2 years ago. Only problem is that one plant produced red fruit and that's what I planted back this year. Now I've got all the best of a black variety in a red tomato!

    Martin
     
  6. RoseGarden

    RoseGarden Well-Known Member

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    Martin, I was reading your post and saw that you live I think in Wisconsin... I live in the hot, humid southeast and had very good luck with the Cherokee Purple and Black Plum. Cherokee Purple is one of my regular varieties, wouldn't be without it. It is very flavorful and sets good amounts of fruit for an o.p.

    My question is, do you think that the different growing climates can account for the differences in my experience with C.P. and yours?

    Also, the Black Plum was really impressive for me, really made a LOT of fruit and even kept producing and ripening after the vines had been hit with a few hard frosts. Downside is it's a strangler here, like Yellow Pear is.
     
  7. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    Forgot which thread I mentioned it on but there are many factors involved in tomato taste, productions, etc. As near as I could tell, there was no difference in soil under my Cherokee Purple plants as the rest of my plants. At least, I allowed my plants to live until frost. The other gardener yanked her plants out early. Geographically, it would appear that CP does best in zones 6-8. Cherokee Green also didn't do worth a darn but was actually tastier to me. I think that I may have Cherokee Chocolate seed if I can find space for 2 more plants.

    Black Plum has been in the SSE catalog for ages and I have had the seed since 2004. Comparing it to Yellow Pear for growth says that one word is missing from the description, vigorous! Size of the fruit, listed at only 2", is probably one reason why we don't hear much about it. Almost too small to mess around peeling it. Thus good for sauces or something where it would be run through a chinois or strainer. Still doesn't fit into the 2007 plans unless I want to do one plot with all different black ones just to have everyone wonder what's wrong with soil!

    Martin
     
  8. seanmn

    seanmn Well-Known Member

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    Next year I'll have to try some black from Tula and Black Krim or perhaps even the cherokee purple. I liked the flavor from the red brandywines as well...but seemed to get alot of cracking. They tasted much better than the big boy's I grew, although the big boys were very productive. But I'd rather have quality over quanitity anyday.
    What other heirloom tomato's are known for great taste?
     
  9. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    We've let this question sit there for over 26 hours with nobody willing to go out on a limb. Neither will I? For every variety that I may name, someone could honestly reply with something wrong with it. My personal favorite is the "Famous Wisconsin 55" for any area north of the Mason-Dixon Line. And yet I saw a comment from someone in the Dakotas who won't grow it again.

    Taste itself is subjective. The two things which vary in tomatoes are sugar and acid. Both can vary in neighboring gardens and from year to year with any one variety. Then one must take into consideration if a person eats them with sugar or salt and pepper, or what they will be used for. One can only read the descriptions and look for the type of fruit desired according to the ultimate use. If you are only going to be eating them as slicers, then look for big beefsteak types. For salads with dressings, look for small or medium and meaty types. If you are going to smother the true tomato taste with all of the spices involved in sauce, then just look for something that's said to be good for sauces.

    I'd say that I've got easily 25-30 that I'd say had great taste in the 2005-2006 gardens. Even several of the green ones were better than some of the "normal" colors. Had one, Medford, which I think was an old Canadian commercial canner type. Hard as a rock, which would be a good trait for hauling to the cannery over dirt roads and 3' deep in a wagon and arrive ready for canning whole or stewed. By today's standards, few would like it but it tasted like a real tomato to me. That's one that needs just a pinch of salt as a great canner but I'd never try to foist it off on anyone as a slicer or juicer. That variety is a star as just one purpose and that's it.

    Martin
     
  10. LMonty

    LMonty Well-Known Member

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    i've got a small black plum thats rather juicy, black russian IIRC-i wouldnt really call it a paste, more a salad type. good snacker, very prolific, either a determinate or a short vined plant (only went about 3 ft, it did have a flush, but then kept produicng until the frost got it)

    Grew Paul Robeson for the first time this past season- I liked it, but then, I really love a good juicy sharp pink brandywine. I didnt think it was quite as complex a flavor as the BW. Interesting shape to it- more a pendulous type. About baseball sized. A couple of flat fruits showed up, and one plant had a yellowish cast to the skin (no flavor difference that I could detect) I did try to save the seeds, but DH "cleaned the kitchen for me" just as they fermented right...arrrggghhhhh.

    One of my favs I try to grow each year is a small yellow cherry that a Mennonite woman gave me seeds for about 15 yrs ago. Very sweet and tasty, the neices and nephews ask to go pick the russian and the gold cherry whenever they come to visit. Probably similar to Sungold, but very prolific and has been pretty disease resistant. Its funny it did real well in the PA mountains it came from, and in the south- but here in WI hasnt been as happy. Seemed less vigorous. But, the thing is my garden is on the edge of a farmers field, and he has one of those pumpkin farm things every year....

    The squash bug population here flies in with knives and forks and napkins already tied around their little necks...they even eat tomatoes here, I swear! Lord knows what viruses they spread. I can look at my garden and come back a couple of hours later and there can be 100 on one vine...

    I hate squash bugs.

    I garden organically, pretty much; but I'd consider using tactical nukes a reasonable approach to squash bug control.

    It might at least scare them away.
     
  11. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    It is good that you did not save those seeds unless just for yourself. Your description of pendulous and everything else is identical with many showing up in Black Brandywine. Paul Robeson is not supposed to have such a wide variance in fruit shapes and should be shaped like a normal tomato, not pendulous or flat and not yellowish.

    Martin